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News from 2008 Asian Odyssey Innersearch

Our Innersearch team is in Cambodia today. The first major event of the program was held. All the participants have arrived, everyone is together now, a bit tired from the long journey, but the word is that Angkor Watt is fantastic and everyone is ecstatic!

Thai Pongal at Kauai Aadheenam

Today was the auspicious day of Thai Pongal when the sun moves into Capricorn beginning the month of Thai or Makara in Sanskrit. It is called as Makara Sankranti in other areas of India (“Makar Sankrant” in Hindi). In Tamil Nadu it is an agricultural festival marked by the boiling of a special clay pot of rice and milk (hence the term “pongal”) which serves as an augury for the coming year.

Our silpi team has decorated the pattarai (blacksmith forge) and a pot of rice with milk is already on the fire….

They have done a marvelous job decorating the place

Thai Pongal is always a joyous festival. We celebrate the gifts of nature, the food that comes to us from the harvest, the blessings of life.

The silpis carefully tend the altar and the fire… waiting, waiting…

The pot begins to bubble.

It’s boiling over! Which side is spilled over on first indicates the fortune of the coming year.

Yes! A wonderful year it will be! It is abundantly spilling everywhere.

The flame is lowered and offerings of fruits and vegetables are laid out as the rice continues to cook. The monks have brought some produce from our garden and the milk in the pot was just milked minutes ago.

When it is done it is put out onto the banana leaf and arati is done.

Paramacharya Ceyonswami performs the final arati, giving thanks to the elemental spirits for all of their hard work and energy the past year giving us an abundant harvest of healthy vegetables.

We honor the silpis with dakshina (cash gift) and special luggage bags and other gifts.

The sun rises and prasadam is distributed to all.

Today’s Pilgrims and Visitors

Five Maharishi Mahesh Yogi devotees and TM teachers arrived for the puja this morning followed by a tour of the Iraivan Temple.

On the left are Stuart and Mokihana Zimmerman with Meryl Eisen all from Princeville, Kauai. They are hosting Sukanta Kumar Swain and his wife Rashmekha from Puri, Orissa, India. They all teach yoga and their Guru’s teachings both here and overseas. Sukanta and Rashmekha were overjoyed to learn their visit happened to coincide with Makara Sankranti.

Our guests pose In front of one of four large painting of Gurudeva by the great Indian artist Indra Sharma. Directly in front is the very sacred Kalasa stone that will be placed on top of the lotus of the Iraivan Temple Capstone during the Maha Kumbha abhishekam. And on either side of the stone one can glimpse some of the gilded bronze Navaghrahas which will one day have a special shrine near Iraivan.

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